Posted by Chris
So now that I have covered four of the most common archetypes, we should talk about why I have covered them.
Archetypes exist for a reason, they are things that exist throughout littature, reguardless of region, language, or religion. These are not things that any one author created, but something the collective of all creative minds have shared throughout time. While it isn’t necessary for all or even any to be used, they are effective literary tools that are easily understood.
What is the reason I felt like I should toss my voice in the wind? There are a lot of modern stories which are attempting to challenge the archetype system and writers who claim it is boring and predictable. This is a problem with story telling at it’s core.
When we tell stories, we want people to understand them. We want the reader to: learn whatever wisdom we wish to impart, entertain for a measure of time, and be able to tell others about the story. This is true for almost every story ever written, reguardless of origin.
So why are archetypes used, it doesn’t seem like they are nessarry? Well, it all comes down to the first and last goals of a story.
The first goal of a story is to be understood. There are lots of things we do to accommodate this. We use a common language, the proper use of grammer, use words that can be understood, provide context for words or ideas being introduced, and the use of recognizable story elements. This is effective communication at its most basic. So if you remember; archetypes exist everywhere in the world, and are practically universal. As such, when you use them the readers can easily understand the basic motivations and premise of the tale without having to strain themselves.
This ties into the last goal of a story as well. If a story is easily understood it is easier to remember. We want our stories to be memorable, the reason is two fold. First if it’s memorable then it’s both easier to convey your message or wisdom into the mind of the reader. Secondly it’s more likely they will share your story with others.
A story lives and dies in the mind of the reader. The text on a page or screen only help guide the mind to create that story. No one would have a best seller novel if the story wasn’t memorable. This is why we should use archetypes correctly. They are tools to help people understand the story.
If they understand it, they can remember it. If they remember it, they can share it. If they share it, the story never dies.